BEGINNING TO READ

As you read aloud, follow the words with your finger to help your child begin to recognize words. Ask questions about sentences you read to check comprehension and encourage expression. Ask your child to pick out words that are repeated throughout a story. Pause when you come to that word so your child can "read" it to you.

TEACHABLE MOMENTS

Reading with your child provides many teachable moments. Use topics in stories as starting points for conversations about such intangibles as sharing, friendships, and emotions.

BEYOND THE PAGES

Extend the experience of reading by moving on to related activities that provide opportunities to explore your child's world. Below are a couple of suggestions. Be sure to check back periodically for new ideas!

NATURE WALK

Take a walk to collect items from nature to use in a collage. Collect and categorize things, and use them to practice counting. Categorizing and counting are important skills for helping preschoolers develop in math, reading, and science.

TRIP TO THE ZOO OR NATURE PRESERVE

Explore the animals section of National Geographic's kids site with your youngster to inspire curiosity about animals and then take a trip to the zoo.

Look for animals on a list you make before leaving home. When you arrive at the zoo, have your child help you figure out how to find those animals using a map of the zoo. Strengthen your child's spatial relationship skills as you trace the path you'll need to take to find the animals you're looking for.

ART PROJECTS

You can make many different projects using National Geographic's Print 'n' Go Coloring Book.

Have your child select a group of African animals. Print the animal pictures and have your child color them. Construct a mural using several large sheets of paper taped together. Help your child cut out the animals and stick them to the mural. Have your child create a paper habitat for the animals using markers. Your child can also glue on grass and twigs collected from outside. If your child can't read yet, help guide him or her through this site and then print the bookmarks.

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